Monthly Archives: May 2017

Buff Dudes!

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Looking at the card game Yu-Gi-Oh there is a specific element that peaked my interest. The power and might of drawing all of Exodia The Forbidden One’s cards and playing such a powerful monster to combat your enemy. Exodia is a powerful monster that cannot be contained to just one card unlike the rest in the Yu-Gi-Oh game. You have to go through your entire deck to get the 5 pieces of Exodia – Left Leg, Right Leg, Right Arm, Left Arm and Exodia (the torso/face).

Exodia

Exodia The Forbidden One from Yu-Gi-Oh. Exodia The Buff Dude.

I wanted to create a game that had elements from both Yu-Gi-Oh card game – particularly the collecting of the pieces of Exodia and the dice game Yahtzee where you roll five dice and try to make combinations to score points. The better you roll in making combinations the more points you get. Both elements are quite simple with each game, draw your deck in Yu-Gi-Oh to gather all the pieces of Exodia and, roll the dice in Yahtzee to get the best combination of numbers.

To combine these games I wanted a card game where players would draw from a deck and try to create there own Buff Dude (my take on Exodia) and with that Buff Dude compete in Weightlifting Competitions to see whose Buff Dude is the strongest and takes home the win. So my idea is a combination of Exodia limb drawing, Yahtzee dice rolling, the ‘healthy’ workout of going to the gym and the competitive scene of Weightlifting.

Buff Dudes 1

First look at separating the portions of the body. Had considered adding Shoulders to the equation though that ended up being a bit clunky on the deck.

Buff Dudes 2

Early planning of what the game would include. Certain changes occurred such as the body board, number of cards players would start with and starting at a level 1 body.

Players would start with the same Head Piece and have to join body parts as they go through the turns. First thought was to create a board where players would place their cards when joining onto the head. This idea was scrapped as it made the game feel rigid as it made the game more a fill-in-the-puzzle style of game play instead of just placing body parts togethers.

The design aspect of this game is meant to be quite like a cartoon as the body pieces and general aesthetic are meant to be sensationalized, much like the proportions of Johnny Bravo.

Johnny Bravo

The Cartoon Network character Johnny Bravo.

The Cards Players need to have for their Buff Dude is a Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest. There are different levels of each of these cards represented by levels as in level 1, level 2 and level 3. Each of these levels corresponds with a more muscular character. Where level 1 is a scrawny muscle, level 2 is a toned muscle and level 3 is a Muscular muscle. Having higher level muscles is beneficial for the competition portion of the game. Ideally having level 3 muscles around the body is wanted. Though that is not always possible.

This game has been designed for 4 players. Each player is given a Head Card to start. Then they are dealt 5 cards each. Of those 5 cards players choose 3 to add to their head and then discard the last 2 in a discard pile. Players are dealt 5 more cards – play up to 3 cards and discard the rest. Deal out the remainder of the deck which is another 5 cards and play up to 3 more cards again and discard the rest. With this mechanic players have to create their own risk as well as be strategic as there are bonuses for getting the same level on limbs that are needed for the competitions, though every limb is not needed for every competition.

The early card design are simply scrap pieces of paper with the limb name and the level number written on. Below is an example of this and a first run through of the game. The game currently has three levels of each limb that every player can make. So there are 3 levels times 5 different body parts times 4 players = 60 cards plus the additional 4 Head Cards.

Buff Dudes play

Four players each able to make their Buff Dude. Though only one player was able to get every muscle to a level 3 musculature.

Buff Dude play 2

A closer look at Player 2 (2nd from our left) from the above picture. Level 3 Right Arm, Right Leg, Left Leg and Chest. Level 1 Left Arm.

Once players have made their Buff Dude, it is time to compete! The competition is in Bench Press, Clean and Jerk, and the Dead lift. Each of these competitions are related to working out and have a work record in some form of competition like the Olympics or Strongman Competition. For this game however the competition is broken down into what parts of the body the player needs to compete and get that edge over the opponents. The more even your body the bigger chance you have of winning.

Buff Dudes 6

A look at the draft for player turn and the muscles needed for the competitions.

For the Bench Press players will be looking at their Chest and Arms.
For the Clean and Jerk players will be looking at their Chest, Arms and Legs.
For the Dead lift players with be looking at their Legs and Arms.

Buff Dudes 8

Players get a benefit when they have Level 3 muscles in the group of muscles that is needed for the competition. This image illustrates my idea of that benefit.

With the competition this is where the Yahtzee mechanic comes into Buff Dudes!. Instead of 5 dice I added one and use 6 dice. The aim is to have the best rolls possible. This is done with 3 attempts at scoring the highest score with 3 re-rolls in each of these attempts. Players can keep the number on some of the dice that they like such as if they rolled three 6’s they only have to re-roll the other three dice. After that last attempt the players look at what they have ended with and correlate that with the scoring chart.

Scoring

Current Buff Dudes! Scoring Chart

Looking at the Bench Press which uses Chest and Arms. Players who have both Level 3 Right arm and Left Arm score an automatic 6 on one of the dice. If they have a Level 3 Chest also this means they get two automatic 6’s on the dice so they would only have to roll four dice. The automatic number is always counted before the first roll. Automatic 6 was made as the game is based on points with 6 being the highest number. I wanted players to aim for the highest score by rolling six 6s.

Buff Dudes 9

This is an example of the Bench Press Competition. Each player is in a different column. With each Attempt a different row of numbers. The sets of numbers are the 3 re-rolled numbers in each attempt with the number in a box the final roll which is then scored on.

Buff Dudes 10

This is the scoring of the Clean and Jerk Competition which uses the Arms, Legs and Chest. The bottom numbers are the total of all three rounds. The overall winner was the player who had made the best Buff Dude! The one with the most equal leveled muscles.

Buff Dudes 11

The Dead Lift competition which uses the Arms and Legs.

Though the competitive aspect of Buff Dudes! comes from the luck of what muscle levels you get and how well you roll the dice. I am looking to add a positive and negative attribute feature that relates to bodybuilding and general gym behaviour. These being items that people would use to build muscle to some degree.

Buff Dudes 3

Items such as Whey protein, Creatine powder, Steroids and Oils to name a few impact on the muscle and the dice rolls.

These items are already on the limbs of the body. Such as a Level 3 Chest with Steroids. Steroids has an effect that would disqualify the user from a competition if he scored 6’s across the board, but if he has managed to get Steroids on every muscle (Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest) one of these muscles would read “If every muscle you have is affected by steroids the negative affect is nullified”. So if you rolled all 6’s with every muscle infected by steroids you would not be disqualified. You will need that main muscle that nullifies the effect otherwise it still works.

Buff Dudes 12

A look at the placement of information on the card about the illegal items and descriptions of use.

Other items and possible effects are:

Whey protein – Up the level of muscle on this limb at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Creatine powder – Switch one of your Cards with a Random Card from the Draw Pile
Oil – If you end with a 1 or 2 in your final roll attempt half your score
Uneven Pecs – Minus a muscle level to one of your arms at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Bum Bag – Has the effect of both Whey and Creatine

Buff Dudes! is meant to be a quick game where the focus is on creating a Buff Dude and Competing. The idea of Buff Dudes was more of a test to see if I could combine elements of Yahtzee with Exodia.

Prototyping with a Cyborg Octopus

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Playing my game became the best experience in finding out what works and what does not. As more play tests happened there were certain results that I did not plan for or expect a player to do. The following blog will present those changes and how I changed the game to suit what I preferred.

I intended for my game to be quite long, but as I am happy to grind out playing my game this was not the case for a majority of play testers. The first design of the board had empty spaces that did nothing. This was changed as the first play testers found that the interest in the game came from being able to do something other than just roll. The solution became to fill in the empty spaces with actions that meant every player would be able to do something besides just roll every turn.

board changes

The revamped board

Continuing play tests found that the board was quite slow when starting to attack the Queen. I had designed in a way that the damage to the Queen is exponential as the turns go on. Even though you may not have done any damage to the Queen this turn you are building up your stats to do more damage when you do get the chance to attack.

Card upgrades

An aesthetic upgrade for the cards as well as a colour coordination on the map. Blue = Action, Red = Queen, and Grey = Mechanical Piece

The Significance of the Card draw is to be both beneficial and disruptive to the players. The Mechanical Pieces that you get from the “M” spaces boost your upgrades though as there were Action Cards from landing on the “A” spaces that allowed you to get Mechanical Pieces also it presented itself as a redundancy for the players drawing this Action Card.

Redundant cards

26 redundant Action Cards. Players wanted something more beneficial than just a card that equaled landing on a Mechanical Space. So they were scrapped.

Scrapping these cards caused a significant decline in getting Mechanical Pieces in order for upgrades. A short solution was to give players 5 Mechanical Pieces to start with instead of 3, and for every 2 damage done to the Queen a player would receive 1 Mechanical Piece.

Attacking the Queen is the main objective for the first round of the game. Though early play tests made this quite the struggle as you would have to land on or pass Start naturally to be able to attack the Queen or get an Action Card that would allow you to damage the Queen. Feedback suggested making the other three corner spaces ‘Attack the Queen Spaces if landed on (for your attack stat)’. This change was beneficial for the speed of the game in further play tests.

Start Changes

Landing on or going past Start is the biggest benefit as you get to attack the Queen but also a Mechanical Piece to get further in upgrading your stats.

Play tests also made the change for the purpose of the ‘Movement’ stat. While I had thought that this was to increase your dice roll movement many people; even myself found that it was incompatible with the natural flow of rolling a dice and moving that number of spaces. A simple redesign changed the ‘Movement Stat’ to the ‘Speed Stat’ that benefits in the Second Board Battle Phase. Where the player with the higher Speed Stat goes first when it comes to attacking or defending.

A little playthrough

A Short play test of the game showed that by turn 6 the Queen would be Half Health. This was also the play through where I decided to change the Movement Stat to the Speed Stat.

As the game was played there are a number of Cards that cause a player to lose stats and this made their stats go into the negatives. This was something I did not like as it made the Revenge Map quite redundant. As it is your stats that are your life total so having negative stats meant you were handicapped with both your character and your revenge octopus.

Turn and rules changes

‘Your Turn’ and ‘Rule’ pages were created for some guidance

Some of the Queen cards are specific in that they only heal damage tentacles or the most damaged tentacle. In early play tests players were only focusing on one tentacle at a time which made these Queen cards redundant. So introducing the rule “Three tentacles need to be damaged before the first tentacle can be completely (dealing the 8th damage) destroyed” sorted out this issue.

Damage to the Queen also became significant when players were attacking multiple tentacles in one turn – an overflow of damage from one tentacle to another. I set in place the rule that no overflow of damage is allowed as these tentacles are gigantic compared to the player so there is no way that a single blow from a player would be able to go through multiple tentacles. This rule aided in the game being more strategic but also the Queen Cards being more effective if players are careless.

Something as simple as rolling doubles seemed common and I wanted players want to keep rolling doubles so I made the simple rule of “If you roll doubles have another turn” (taken from monopoly but with no threat of jail). I though this was a fine rule as the board layout prevents a player from continually attacking the Queen as the board is 11 spaces on two sides and 10 on the other two. So consecutive attacks are rare but doable.

battle board changes

The Revenge Board saw a couple of changes to guarantee some progress

First changes on battle board

First Round of changes on the Revenge Board

The Jump Forward Space was added so the Mobile Octopus had a guarantee goal for at least getting into a fight with a player. As landing on this space jumps the Octopus forward on the map (following the layout of the map) to the nearest player and getting in some damage.

Changes of software and hardware

A review of the end of a game and some feedback suggested putting specific stats on the Mechanical Pieces and having them be in certain groups so that players had to coordinate certain pieces from those groups together in order to get a bonus. Above is a little look at setting out that design. I did find it interesting though the implementation seemed quite hard.

Next set of changes

Some changes that I planned to play with on the next play test

The paper clips and elastic bands seem to be the best representation for the Queen and her health. Overall I am happy with my game and how it is turning out.